Sportress of Blogitude

Sean Payton, the master of preparatory minutiae, paints Seahawks logo on practice field (photo)


While there is no way to ascertain just how much of an effect Sean Payton’s unique efforts to switch-up the team’s preparations last week impacted how the New Orleans Saints finally won its first road playoff game in franchise history, it’s hard to argue with the fact that the head coach is willing to do just about anything to get his players in the right mindset.

Heading into the team’s Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, Payton did his best to alter the mindset of the players with some unorthodox changes to game week routines, including changing the flavor of the Gatorade, playing loud music during practice and altering the kind of sweatsuits the players wore (via WWLTV):

Coach Sean Payton referenced changing sweat suits five times Wednesday, switching up the Gatorade three times and using a different beefy mac recipe twice.

He even offered to send an ESPN reporter one of the team’s new, heavier travel sweat suits.

“Those are significant changes,” Payton said. “We changed our Gatorade color. That’s a big deal. The night before, what you eat – that’s a big deal. The sweat suits. Those other ones were getting kind of raggedy to begin with anyway.”

In the end, the Saints did win, and whether or not Payton’s tinkering had anything to do with with it is moot point, at least in Payton’s mind, as he continued his offbeat approach this week as players arrived for practice on Tuesday to find the Seattle Seahawks logo painted on the team’s practice field. This was done in part as an effort to simulate — to some minor extent — the hostile gameday conditions the Saints will face at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.

“That’s all part of the little things we do through the week to prepare ourselves. It’s just knowing your elements and just put yourself in the moment as much as you can,” said quarterback Drew Brees about Payton’s latest motivational tactic. “It’s in the indoor facility as well. Just knowing that you’re going to see a lot of those colors when you step into that stadium and preparing to play your best on the practice field and hope that carries over.”

Payton has said he is trying to create the “exact environment” the Saints will experience on Saturday.

Well, I guess it’s something, right?